Object: Badge, ’The King’s Flight’
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|Title||Badge, ’The King’s Flight’|
Unknown (manufacturer(s)), 1949, New Zealand
|Medium summary||Printed cardboard, printed tin and ribbon|
|Credit line||Gift of Lynette Townsend, 2011|
This badge documents the expected royal tour of King George VI in March 1949, a tour that was cancelled due to his ill health.
The badge illustrates New Zealand's ongoing connection to Britain and the popularity of the British monarchy at the middle of the 20th century. There was great excitement about the 1949 royal tour because it was to be the first time a reigning monarch had set foot in New Zealand. Preparations were well underway with memorabilia like these badges already in production.
Previous royal visitors had either been sons or brothers of the monarch - Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh in 1869, Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York in 1901, Prince of Wales in 1920, Duke and Duchess of York in 1927, Duke of Gloucester in 1934-5.
Hopes for a visit by the monarch had been raised during the 1940s including a visit by George VI in 1940, but World War Two prevented it. A shortened tour was planned for May 1952, and when the king again fell ill it was decided Princess Elizabeth would come instead. However, at the first stop on this tour, in Africa, the young princess learned of her father's death and she returned home.
Queen Elizabeth's coronation in June 1953 heightened New Zealander's interest in royalty with a hugely popular tour taking place in 1953-54.
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